Tag Archives: idiot tax

The economics of sitting down

I wish I could be a taxi driver. It seems like the best job in the world. I love to drive, I love listening to music, so on paper anyway, it just seems perfect. But then I think about the physical toll sitting down all day would take on my body. Every once in a while I’ll drive upstate, to Massachusetts. It’s like a three hour drive. Recently I drove up to Buffalo. That was close to six hours. It was a long, long time sitting down. My lower back hurt so much by the time I finally got to the hotel. I went to the gym to see if I couldn’t run it off, but I couldn’t. It was like I actually injured myself just sitting down.

But I wonder, if I were a full-time taxi driver, would those lower back muscles strengthen up? Maybe I’d get really good at it, but then all of my other muscles, the muscles I usually use for walking and stuff, they’d start to atrophy. And I’d just be stuck, sitting.

And traffic. When I drove up to Buffalo, the majority of the trip was spent simply trying to get out of the city. It’s the worst. Every once in a while I’ll think, maybe I should buy a car. It could really come in handy. But then I’ll get stuck in an epic traffic jam and I realize that this city is no place for driving.

Except for taxi drivers. That’s got to be the best, being a taxi driver who gets stuck in traffic. It’s like if you’re an office worker and the power goes out. You just sit there and hang out, right? It’s not like anybody can get any office work done nowadays without computers. And you still get paid, right? I guess, for a taxi driver, getting stuck in traffic all depends on if you have a passenger before you get stuck. Because once they’re inside the meter keeps running. Sure it’s a little slower if you’re at a dead stop, but whatever, a paid break is a paid break.

Recently my brother and I took a cab home from somewhere and for whatever reason the driver got on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, a notorious parking lot. Sure enough, we get on and it’s just bumper to bumper, nobody moving. This driver was loving it. We sat in there for like half an hour before we finally insisted on getting out right there and walking towards the nearest exit. The driver was like, “You can’t just get out of the cab here.” But we did. And we beat every single car to the nearest exit. It was terrible though. We still had to pay like thirty bucks, then walk to the subway, then wait for the subway. The whole point of not taking the subway was to get home quick.

But whatever, every once in a while you have to pay the idiot tax. That’s what I call it when you just lose money for no other reason than making idiot decisions. Like going to Atlantic City for the weekend and losing hundreds of dollars playing Texas Hold ‘Em. Great idea Rob, you thought you’d just walk up to a table of card players and win? I only played two hands and lost everything.

But that wasn’t the idiot tax for that trip. The idiot tax was when I decided to go to the ATM and win a little back playing Blackjack. I’m telling you, twenty-five dollars a hand. Lose. Lose. Lose. Lose. Nice playing with you sir. And that was only part one of the idiot tax. Part two was taking another hundred bucks out and hoping I could instantly win it back on one round of roulette. Nope. It’s like if you get caught urinating in public. The idiot tax.

I don’t know, maybe I wouldn’t be a great cab driver. Any job where you have to rely on tips is always going to be disheartening, because tipping is optional, and given the option, some people will always be like, nope, no tip.

Maybe if somebody invented a taxi where you could stand up while driving. That would be so much better actually. Why aren’t all cars designed this way? Scientists are always wagging their fingers at us, telling us that we’re all getting so fat because our bodies aren’t meant to be living such sedentary lifestyles. So make all cars standing room only. As a bonus, you’d be able to fit a lot more people inside. Airplanes also. And movie theaters. We should just eliminate seats all together, so everybody has to stand all the time.

And I’m not talking about rickshaws either. That probably wouldn’t be the best job. I’m sure lugging people around like that has got to be grueling. And you don’t stand a chance against a car. I mean, if you get into an accident with a car, you’re dead. Unless everybody had rickshaws. Then that wouldn’t be so bad. But wait a second, if everybody is standing up, then what’s the point of a rickshaw? Because they’d be standing up also. And since they’re already standing, they might as well be walking, because that’s what the drivers are doing. I guess if everybody stood up, everybody would go out of business. Can you imagine how long that line would be at the unemployment office?